The other day we offered an initial proposal on what a public interest-minded Communications Act for the digital era should include. We hope everyone will add to such a plan. One issue we left out is public telecommunications. This is an area which needs to be thoroughly overhauled. Sufficient public funding is required; insulation from political interference [the “Stop Appointing Hacks to the CPB Board” provision]; greater public/community control by elected boards; a mandate to produce indepth news and cultural content; and absolutely no advertising at all. In other words, refashion public broadcasting so it can evolve as a non-commercial “Commons;” not the hodge-podge of commercialism and varying quality it is likely to further become.
We also believe that any legislation must expand the role of community media. Local public, educational and governmental communications must be given the mandate–and the financial support–to serve its community mission in the interactive media era. That means programming all the major platforms–including the mobile network. We need to craft a campaign where we press for public interest policies while we also actively attempt to shape the digital marketplace so it better serves democracy. I discuss some of these proposals–and more–in the recommendation section of my new book–Digital Destiny.